In Aug. 28 IssueBy Kim GrahamRCN Reporter
Musicians, dancers, and music lovers reunited last weekend at KOA Campground in Russell Springs for the 7th Annual Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival.
"Bluegrass fans who attend each year are the reason there is a Lake Cumberland Bluegrass Festival," said festival promoter Clarissa "Moochie" Hart. "We had people there from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and all over Kentucky just to name a few."
Seasoned and new Bluegrass Music fans took in performances from local, regional, and nationally touring bands during the two-day festival.
"This year's talent line up was second to none," Hart said. "We tried to reach a variety of bluegrass fans with bluegrass gospel, a younger bluegrass sound, crowd pleasers, and hard driving traditional bluegrass bands. "
Among the bands performing was Kentucky's native son legendary banjo player J.D. Crowe and his band The New South.
"I feel very honored to have been able to have JD Crowe here on Saturday. He has always been one of my bluegrass heroes," said Hart. "He has been a fixture in bluegrass music for 50 years and has seen musical greats like Keith Whitley, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, and Tony Rice pass through his band - all of which went on to have very successful musical careers on their own."
Even though rain dampened early Saturday afternoon performances, music lovers and many Bluegrass newbies came out and stayed until late in the evening.
"I've had first time attendees tell me that they were definitely coming back and I've had people who aren't necessarily bluegrass fans that attended and said they enjoyed it and would love to come back," said Hart." That's what we want to hear!"
Hart estimated a record crowd of about 2,000 fans of Bluegrass Music attended the festival over the weekend.
"It's easy to say this was the largest crowd we've ever had," said Hart. "I've heard nothing but positive comments about the festival from people who say they're already looking forward to next year."
Already, plans are underway for the 2011 festival scheduled August 19 - 20 at KOA Campground.
"Our committee works hard all year long to bring the best local, regional and national bluegrass acts to the area," Hart said.
The homegrown festival is built around family, friends, and a desire to share the soulful sound of Bluegrass Music with the community.
This year, the festival committee honored a few of the folks who have given generously of their time, talent, and support by dedicating the stage to them with permanent name plaques.
"I was glad that we were able to dedicate the stage to some people who work hard behind the scenes to make the festival a success," said Hart. "We rely heavily on James Flatt, Dr. Charles and Kathleen Peck, John and Susan Peck, and my parents, Danny and Jennie Hart and the festival just couldn't happen without them."
A culmination of many hours of work and contributions from countless people helps to bring the festival together into homespun entertainment for the community.
"I want to thank the Peck family, KOA, James Flatt, the committee, the bluegrass fans who attended the festival, and our generous sponsors who even in hard economic times continue to support our festival," said Hart.
Hart said preparing for the festival is a year round job but looking out and seeing people have a good time makes it worth the work.
"I believe with all my heart that we're on to something great with this festival and I would love to see it continue to grow," Hart said.
"I hope with the growing crowd each year and the positive comments we've been hearing will generate interest among those who have never been to the festival.
“Our goal is to keep bringing the best local, regional and national bluegrass acts to this area and grow the festival each year."